Gold turns higher after weak jobs report

In the Lead: “Dirty Business”

Today marked yet another Friday on which the release of the Labor Department’s US jobs’ scene statistics became the principal focus for practically every market participant out there. Over the course of the past couple of years, several such Friday events turned into pivotal, market sentiment-shaping ones that set the course for trading patterns of various longevities.

This morning’s consensus anticipation was largely of a downbeat nature as traders took note of the rush by economists this week to revise their computations of US jobs growth towards lower levels. The midweek negative surprise in the ADP private payrolls figures coupled with the weak showing in the ISM’s US manufacturing activity assessment had prepped the markets for what was to come at 8:30 New York time this morning.

Thus, it was not as important that gold opened some $4 lower and that silver lost 65 cents at 8:20 New York time as what started to take place ten minutes after the final trading day of this shortened market week got underway. The US Labor Department noted that US unemployment touched its highest level since December of last year, ticking up by 0.10% to the 9.1% mark.

The US payroll figures for March and for April were revised downward by 39,000 positions while May’s jobs growth slowed to only 54,000 positions. An immediate reaction to the weak numbers was noted in Dow futures, which fell by more than 125 points as a result of the news. The US dollar also gave up some ground on the trade-weighted index, slipping 0.11 to the 74.21 level. Crude oil promptly lost 165 cents per barrel to ease to 15 cents under the double-nine level.

Gold prices turned higher following the jobs report and traded as high as $1,535 the ounce, while silver narrowed its earlier losses to only 44 cents and was quoted at $35.91 per ounce. Platinum and palladium did not show too much movement in the wake of the data and traded near unchanged-to-slightly-higher levels at $1,815 and at $771.00 per ounce respectively.

Rhodium dropped $25 to the $2,250.00 mark this morning. The US Treasury Department reported that it completed the sale of its last remaining stake in Chrysler. Say “Ciao!” to Chrysler as it is now FIAT-owned. Evidently, parts of the precious and industrial metals took their initial price-trend cue in the aftermath of the jobs data not from the evidently contracting US economy, but from the second wave of perceptions manifest this week that such numbers will “force” the Fed’s hand and that some kind of QE will now need to be baked into the cake for the second half of the year.

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